- A mid year comparison study of career satisfaction and emotional states between residents and faculty at one academic medical center

The demographic distributions (age, gender, race) for the resident respondents are very similar to those of all residents (data not shown) and are similar to those for the graduates of US medical schools[19] The demographic distributions for the entire faculty from an institutional database are also representative of faculty in US medical schools [20] although faculty demographic information was not collected with the survey.

Table 1 shows the means and sample standard deviations for answers to questions relating to career satisfaction, emotional states and perceived levels of job stress. The data are not specified for specialty. While both groups were generally satisfied, the faculty were significantly more satisfied with career choice and also felt more stress than expected compared to the residents. The overall average score of career choice satisfaction for residents was 3.98 out of 5 with a 0.88 sample standard deviation. For the faculty scores were 4.29 out of 5, with a .81 sample standard deviation, significantly higher for the faculty than for the residents (p-value = 0.0%). The average scores of stress level for the faculty were 3.15 out of 5 with a 0.84 sample standard deviation while 3 out 5 with a 0.90 sample standard deviation for residents.

For the questions related to emotional states, the faculty physicians were more positive and less negative than the residents for the majority of choices in all applicable categories. The faculty were significantly more positive and less negative compared to the residents for 8 out of 9 positive emotional descriptors and 9 out of 10 negative emotional descriptors, respectively. Interestingly, there were no differences in "Relieved" and "Angry" between residents and faculty. It is worth noting that the directions of the differences in satisfaction and emotional states were consistent.

In the survey, there were two separate groups of questions corresponding to positive and negative aspects of the professional experience, respectively. The proportion of positive experiences for a participant was computed by taking the ratio of the number of "yes" responses to the total number of positive questions and in similar fashion for negative experiences. The average proportions of positive and negative aspects of the professional experience also differed significantly between faculty and residents. Figures 1 and 2 display the distributions of proportions of positive experiences and negative experiences grouped for faculty and residents respectively. The proportions of positive experiences were higher (68% vs. 58%, p-value = 0.0%) and proportions of negative experiences lower (23% vs. 39%, p-value = 0.0%) for the faculty compared to the residents.

Figures 3, 4 provide data on work hours and sleep for the two groups. Thirteen percent of the residents and 14% of the faculty reported working more than 80 hours per week (Figure 3). In addition, 2% of the residents but 9% of the faculty reported not having one day off for every 7 working days. Fourteen percent of the residents but 60% of the faculty who had duty hour assignments of 24 hours did not leave the hospital within 6 hours after the end of the 24-hour period. Figure 4 shows the distributions of self-reported sleep hours averaged over one week. About 4.2% of residents reported less than 4 hours sleep while 1.3% faculty reported similarly. There were statistical differences with a p-value = 1.5% by χ2 test in the distributions of sleep hours between the groups although the average sleep hours were comparable between them.

Ninety-nine percent of the residents and faculty respondents provided narrative comments about factors that positively influenced their experiences and 81% provided narrative comments about negative factors influencing their experiences. Virtually all the positive and negative themes were identified in the 33 statements presented on the survey instrument.

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